Car thefts on Butler’s campus

Butler University Police Department investigates thefts on campus. Collegian file photo. 

GRACE WORCESTER | STAFF REPORTER | gworcester@butler.edu

During the very first week of classes, Butler students received an email about car thefts on campus from chief of public safety, John Conley. In the email, Conley gave students a timely warning regarding the thefts and addressed how to prevent them.

Assistant chief of administration at BUPD, Diane Sweeney, has been following the situation. Sweeney said that if BUPD sees that two or more people had a similar occurrence very close in time, that is when a “Dawg Alert” is sent out, which is why students were notified of the situation. 

“The two cars stolen had their keys in them and the vehicles were recovered by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on the north side of town in an apartment complex,” Sweeney said. “A resident of the complex called and shared the license plates cause they looked odd being at the complex.”

Conley also said in the email that BUPD received two reports: one theft was on campus and one was in a Greek House parking lot. 

“In one case, suspects were seen on video going through unlocked cars and finding the keys,” Conley said. “Those same suspects were later seen returning and taking the vehicle.” 

The message sent out to Butler students also advised students to always lock their cars, leave valuables out of plain sight and take their keys out of their cars. Many Butler students were faced with the reality that crime can happen on campus and the importance of safety measures. 

Sweeney advised students to remove valuable objects from their cars, but said if students are going to leave them, the trunk is the safest option. Sweeney also said that if you see suspicious activity, call BUPD, even though it could be nothing. 

The thefts are being investigated by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the owners of the vehicles were notified. 

First-year economics major, Jackie Lawrence, had her keys stolen from her car on the night of the two car thefts. 

“I had left my car unlocked and put my key in the glove box while someone came by to pick something up,” Lawrence said. “When I returned the next day to my car, I realized my key was not in the glove box but my spare one was on the dashboard. I did not think anything of it, but when the e-mails started to roll out I realized I had been a victim of one of the [thefts].” 

On a Facebook page, a student reported their Jeep Wrangler being stolen, and a student at a fraternity reported their Ford F-150 being stolen. 

“Luckily, my car has not been stolen, and I still have my spare key, but I am still pondering my next steps,” Lawrence said. “The whole situation was just a little bit unnerving and a lot to think about in only my first week of college.”

According to Sweeney, BUPD does not believe that it is a group of Butler students that were responsible for the thefts.

Going forward, students are advised to follow Conley’s plan of action to keep themselves and their vehicle safe. The last and very crucial piece of advice on Conley’s plan of action: if you see suspicious activity to call, call BUPD immediately at (317) 940-9999. 

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